Former UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper called the investigative report about her husband’s sexual harassment “rampant with speculation” and went outside the scope of the case, she wrote in a response Monday.
While investigators found no direct evidence that Kopper knew about her husband, Alan “Pete” Hill’s consistent harassment of students and employees on campus, they wrote that “at best” it was a “blind spot” for her.
The 18-page report released Friday found no incriminating evidence against Kopper, including no negative interactions with women who made the allegations against her husband since 2017.
The report is “no more than a preconceived conclusion in search of supporting evidence” that depends on anonymous and secondhand sources, Kopper’s letter said. She also noted the consistent use of “may be,” “might be” and “could be” to support conclusions drawn.
Kopper sent a one-sentence resignation to UW System President Ray Cross on Dec. 31 following backlash from the local community, as well as the Board of Regents, indicating they were in search for new leadership.
The UW System released documents to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sept. 14 after they filed an open records request. Those documents revealed Cross had banned Hill in June after the investigation found substantial evidence supporting the sexual harassment claims.
Investigators found that it was “noteworthy” Kopper did not notify UW-Whitewater about her husband’s case until September. However, she stated in the letter she sent out a statement “when she had permission from UW System to do so.”
She revealed that she remained on the outskirts of the investigation since talking with her husband more would have appeared suspicious. She also said she consulted the System’s general counsel throughout the process.
While the report mistook Kopper’s words on believing each allegation against her husband came out of a grudge held against her, she “does not believe this and has never so stated.”
Yet, the report includes statements from witnesses who found that Kopper created a “hostile work environment” while in leadership in addition to how she handled the allegations. They also said she micromanaged, was unclear on budgets and would yell at employees until she was “red in the face.”
Kopper had no chance to combat these remarks during her interview but criticized them in documents shared by her lawyer.
By not being able to discuss those claims, Kopper was unable to tell investigators that Cross said she was “excellent with managing the budget,” in a 2018 letter.
She will return to UW-Whitewater in the fall with a position among the psychology faculty, earning a salary of $118,308 — over 50 percent more than the department chair.